Council to Consider Ordinance that Reduces Use of Single-Use Plastic Bags

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​At the Monday, August 27 City Council meeting, the Salem City Council will hold a First Reading on an ordinance that would reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in Salem. If Council advances the ordinance, a public hearing will be scheduled on September 10.

What is being proposed?

  • Retailers would be prohibited from providing plastic bags at checkout. Retailers would be required to charge at least five cents per recyclable paper bag.

  • Retailers would not be required to charge this fee if the customer is low-income and receives government assistance in the form of WIC, or receives benefits as part of the SNAP program, such as Oregon Trail cards.

  • Retailers will be encouraged to promote the use of recyclable and reusable bags. The new rule would not affect:

    • Packaged bulk items such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items;
    • Packaging that wraps flowers, potted plants, or other items where dampness is a problem;
    • Pharmacy prescription bags;
    • Laundry dry-cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags that is intended to be used for home food storage, garbage waste, pet waste, or yard waste; and
    • Single-use bags for prepared take-out foods, produce, and meats.

Proposed timeline

  • An ordinance to prohibit single-use plastic bags will be introduced at the August 27 City Council meeting.

  • If City Council advances the ordinance, a public hearing will be held on September 10, and a final vote would be scheduled for a later date.

  • If approved, a phased implementation would be proposed with larger retailers complying by April 1, 2019 and all other retail establishments by September 1, 2019.

Background and purpose

  • At the May 18, 2018 City Council meeting, staff was directed to research and prepare an ordinance to prohibit single-use plastic bags for carryout purchases.

  • Eight cities in Oregon already have similar ordinances in place:
    • Ashland (since 2014)
    • Corvallis (since 2013)
    • Eugene (since 2013)
    • Forest Grove (since 2016)
    • Hood River (since 2017)
    • Manzanita (since 2017)
    • McMinnville (since 2017)
    • Portland (since 2011)
  • The goal of the rule is to protect the environment, animal and human health, and to reduce litter.

  • Read the staff report and learn more

City Council meetings are open to the public and begin at 6 p.m. The meeting will also be streamed live at this link or cable channel 21.

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Salem OR 97301
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